Hebrews 10:32-35: Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. 33 Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. 34 You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. 35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
The readers of this Epistle faced challenges of “great conflict.” The author recalls this conflict as public insults, imprisonment, and confiscation of property. The significant thing is how the readers responded. They stood with others who were having difficult times. The readers did not leave those suffering to face persecution alone. As Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 25:36, if they visited those in prison, they were actually visiting him. These verses indicate the solidarity of the first Christians. It was not easy to be a Christian at that time. They experienced many difficulties because of their faith. Note the words that describe their response. First, they endured and did not give up. Second, they encouraged one another. Third, they joyfully accepted the persecution. They did not grow bitter or protective about the property taken from them. Fourth, they had the long view: they looked for eternity, not the temporary things of this life.
The author ends this thought with an exhortation to hold strong to the confidence that comes by their faith. The opposite of confidence is doubt. Doubt can too easily come when we face difficult times, hardship, or persecution. We may begin to ask where God is through this. We may take our eyes off of God’s promises. Our incentive is that we know in the end we will be rewarded for our faithfulness. There is a reward for not giving up but staying faithful to the end of our lives. If we only look to what the world provides us, then we will hold on to whatever we can. If we realize that God is in control, then we can release the things of this world and put our lives into God’s hands.
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